Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has dismissed Spanish media reports linking David Villa with a move away from the Nou Camp in the January transfer window.
Sports newspaper Marca claimed this morning that the striker is ready to move on from Barca just 19 months into the four-year deal agreed following his €40m transfer from Valencia.
The speculation over the Spain international’s future appears to have sprung from Guardiola’s decision to omit the forward from his starting line-up for Saturday’s 3-1 victory in the Clasico against Real Madrid.
Marca – an openly pro-Real Madrid publication – claims Villa has been made available for transfer and already touted to “the great English clubs, mainly Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa”, but Guardiola insists the speculation is nonsense.
Speaking to reporters in Japan ahead of Barcelona’s FIFA Club World Cup opener against Al-Sadd, Guardiola claimed: “Marca lie. I have not spoken to David after the last match in Madrid, but all of the players are in my plans.
“I am the one who comes up with 25 different line-ups during the season because I feel that is the best thing to do.
“Most of the players that are here now will continue for the rest of this season and the next.”
The speculation over the future of the 30-year-old World Cup winner appears at odds with his goalscoring record at Barcelona. Villa has scored five times in 15 league outings this season, following on from his 18 goals in 34 games as Barca won the Primera Division title last term.
Villa has made 75 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring 32 goals.